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Garden tour time

   Every summer, I marvel at the long list of garden walks and tours scheduled throughout Western New York. As one who is happy just to keep the potted flowers watered and beds mulched, I admire people with the confidence to open up their backyards to neighbors and strangers alike.

To check out some of the local garden tours planned for this summer, check out today's Home & Style section.

Have you ever signed up to be in a garden tour in your area? How did you prepare (weeding at midnight)? What were your experiences?

We would love to hear from you.

Celebrating summer

   The outdoor entertaining season is upon us. While graduation parties and bridal showers keep
many of us busy on weekends, summer's arrival is reason enough to plan a get-together
with friends and family.

    Be it an annual block party or a 4th of July kids' parade around the neighborhood, some celebrations even become traditions. I talk about some other party ideas in my "From the Home Front" column in today's Home & Style section.

  Us? We're attending a family reunion this weekend - a sure sign that summer has arrived.

  As for the rest of the summer, it will be tough to top the pre-dawn lunar eclipse party we
hosted last summer in our front yard.

  Lawn chairs, pastries and a whole lot of coffee. What could be easier?

Anyone have any unique party plans in the works?


Ready for some summer style

   Now that the temperature is finally heating up, those favorite summer clothes are coming
out of closets. Straw hat, canvas handbag, polka-dot bikini (well, maybe not).

   Today's Home & Style section looks at some of those core pieces and how they've been
updated for Summer 2008 (we look at summer staples for the home as well).

   Most importantly, pulling out those white capris or that colorful sun dress means that it's
finally beginning to feel like summer (which officially begins two weeks from today).

   I can't wait to use my "vintage" black, straw box-shaped handbag lined in leopard print.

   Do you have a favorite summer piece?

More people going "online?"

      The other day I passed a house and noticed laundry hanging on a clothesline. I don't think
I've ever seen that at that particular house before.

   I was reminded of a story I wrote last July on people who prefer to dry their clothes
outdoors. It saves energy, there's no shrinkage and the smell of sheets is wonderful, they
told me.

   It's also nostalgic, brightens whites and is a form of exercise.

   There are some drawbacks, weather and allergens such as pollens being just two of them.
And some townhouse, condo and single-family developments do not allow clotheslines.

   Still, I wonder if more people, in an attempt to go "greener" at home, are deciding to
hang their laundry outdoors.

   Maybe that's what the people who live near me have in mind. Then, again, maybe their dryer
was broken.

   Has anyone gotten hooked on solar drying?